Bite Balancing, Dentist Charlotte NC

Like all concerned dentists, Dr. Plascyk incorporates TMJ or neuromuscular therapy in his care. When necessary Dr. Plascyk performs bite balancing or occlusal equilibration procedures for his patients. Bite balancing or occlusal equilibration is a therapy that relieves stress on the TMJ (jaw joint) structures, the jaw muscles and the teeth. The two critical factors in a balanced bite are correct position of the lower jaw (mandible) in the TMJ or jaw joint and correct tooth-to-tooth contacts between the upper and lower teeth. When these two things are achieved, the patient will experience comfort and optimal function. Long term, a balanced bite will promote dental health instead of dental disease. It is my strong opinion (and other doctors would agree) that if everyone's bite were properly analyzed and treated when they were young, it would eliminate 90% of the dental treatment they need as adults.

The following is taken from Functional Occlusion, From TMJ to Smile Design by Peter Dawson (a world renowned authority on this stuff):

"Attention to occlusion would be elevated to a much higher priority if the following observations were more universally noticed and analyzed.

Occlusal disease is:

  • The #1 most common destructive dental disorder.
  • The #1 contributing factor to eventual loss of teeth.
  • The #1 reason for needing extensive restorative dentistry.
  • The #1 factor associated with discomfort within the masticatory system structures. This includes pain/discomfort in the musculature, the teeth, and the region of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
  • The #1 factor in instability of orthodontic treatment.
  • The #1 reason for soreness and hypersensitivity.
  • The #1 most commonly missed diagnosis leading to unnecessary endodontics.
  • The #1 most undiagnosed dental disorder until severe damage becomes too obvious to ignore."

Bite balancing, or occlusal equilibration, is often done for someone who has one or more of the following problems:

  • TMJ or TMD symptoms (pain and discomfort)
  • excessive wear of the teeth
  • periodontal (gum) disease
  • tooth pain
  • cracks in the teeth and fillings

Before equilibration or bite adjustment, Dr. Plascyk completes an advanced analysis on the patient's TMJ, muscles and teeth. This analysis is called an occlusal or bite analysis, and it includes jaw measurements, impressions of the teeth and photographs. Models are poured from the impressions and from the models, a device called a deprogrammer is made for the patient.

A deprogrammer is like a modified, removable orthodontic retainer. The deprogrammer does not allow the upper and lower posterior teeth to touch, which allows the jaw muscles to relax and become unstressed or deprogrammed. When the muscles are relaxed, the lower jaw can fit into the jaw joint in its most natural position. A deprogrammer is worn 24/7 for a short time and is only removed from the mouth to clean the teeth and when eating. Deprogramming can takes days or months to complete. Typically, it is accomplished within a week.

Once the correct jaw positioned is achieved, a recording of this jaw position is used to mount the models of the teeth on a device called an articulator. An articulator is a hinged device that duplicates the patient's jaw movements. Once mounted, the models are adjusted to determine how the bite will have to be balanced in the patient's mouth. The procedure to balance the bite for a patient can be simple or complicated. Each case is unique and different. The best case scenario is that the patient will only require an equilibration of the teeth. This means the top biting surfaces of the teeth can be delicately reshaped so the teeth fit with each other correctly when the jaw is closed. Sometimes braces or porcelain veneers are needed on the front teeth to balance the bite completely. Before any significant cosmetic or implant treatment, Dr. Plascyk always does a complete occlusal or bite analysis to ensure the best final result for my patients.

2009 Paul Plascyk, DDS • Site designed and maintained by TNT Dental